There are currently 246,300 domestic helpers working in Singapore, meaning close to 20% of Singaporeans have hired a maid/helper. A migrant domestic worker (MDW) will do wonders for your family, taking the hassle out of house chores or caring for your elderly, kids, and pets.
This is a huge help especially if both parents are working.
However, hiring a maid/helper entails more costs than just the salary.
That’s why MOM assesses your household’s earnings before allowing you a work permit to hire a domestic worker from abroad. Things aren’t as complex as they sound, though. Just like how you take time to research for the best car, the same goes for hiring a maid.
Keep reading the article to learn the costs you have to schedule, and what to do when you need to tighten your belt.
What Are The Fixed Monthly Expenses For A Maid?
You’ll have to make room for these costs in your budget every month – and they’re not tiny. Let’s break them down below:
Your migrant maid/helper will undoubtedly need a salary that you have to pay. However, the sum depends on your domestic worker’s country of residence.
Here’s the minimum income/month depending on the country the domestic helper is from:
- Philippines: $570
- Indonesia: $550
- Sri Lanka: $500
- Myanmar: $450
Of course, these aren’t the only countries where you’re allowed to hire a maid/helper. Other locations include:
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
You also have to factor in:
- Age/experience: A younger, inexperienced maid/helper may accept a lower amount.
- Duties: A maid/helper expected to perform more responsibilities around the house will require a higher salary.
- Special training: If your maid/helper has specialised training (e.g., as a kindergarten tutor or nurse for the elderly), you’ll need to pay them accordingly.
- Prior experience in Singapore: Migrant domestic workers who have had jobs in Singapore (aka transfer maids) cost more because they have useful experience. Also, the pandemic-related border restrictions have decreased the supply of MDWs. Thus, a transfer maid’s minimum salary can reach $800-$1,000.
But, at the end of the day, you have to negotiate the sum with your maid.
Warning: Eligibility requirements for hiring migrant domestic workers in Singapore include:
- Age: Your maid/helper must be 23-50 years old when applying for work.
- Education: A minimum of eight years of formal education is required.
Salary range: $600-$1,500
2. Maid Levy
Maid levy in Singapore is $300 and$450 for subsequent maid/helpers.
Luckily, you can be eligible for the $60 concessionary levy if you have:
- Kids or grandkids younger than 16
- Elderly relatives over 67
- A family member needing physical assistance with at least one activity
Warning: These people must be Singapore citizens to qualify for the concessionary levy. When they stop living with you or being Singapore citizens, you’ll have to pay the full levy.
Levy range: $60-$300
3. Rest Days’ Work
How many off days are maids given? Each maid/helper in Singapore is legally entitled to at least one rest day per week. As a result, you will have to provide your MDW with four such free days per month.
Remember: If you need your maid/helper to work on that free day, you’ll have to pay them extra.
Let’s say your MDW has an $800 salary/month and four free days. As a result, their daily salary is $800 divided by 26, meaning $30.77/day.
If you ask your maid/helper to work on one of their free days, you’ll need to fork out an extra $30.77. However, most Singaporeans will ask their MDW to work about two rest days/month.
Warning: MOM will implement the mandatory one rest day/month at the end of 2022. This day cannot be legally compensated through any sort of salary.
Working on rest days payment: $0-$61.54
4. Living Costs
Even though you’ll pay your maid/helper a salary, remember that they’re grown humans living in your household. They will be living with you and are extra mouths to feed. As such, you’ll have to pay for extra:
- Utilities: $40/month
- Grocery: $120/month
- Transport: $40/month
That’s the bare minimum, though. You might also consider paying for:
- Your maid/helper’s menu if you’re eating out with your whole family and must/want to invite your MDW
- Phone bill
- Leisure activities you’re inviting your maid/helper to participate in
Living cost range: $200-$600/month
5. Medical Costs
You also have to include some medical costs into your maid/helper’s yearly payment. These expenses include:
- Recurring mandatory medical costs
- Emergency medical costs (e.g., flu treatment, dentistry, etc.)
Warning: Starting at the end of 2022, MOM will require you to pay for minimum insurance coverage of $60,000/year.
The current medical insurance in Singapore covers $15,000 for MDW. As a result, you’ll have to pay four times as much in insurance installments starting in 2023. This insurance will cover:
- Inpatient care
- Day surgery
- Personal accident insurance in the case of an accident leading to death or permanent disability
That means your insurance costs will be $300-$500/month.
You’ll also have to consider the mandatory biannual medical examination. This consult specifically aims at detecting signs of abuse, meaning you have to be present for it.
The price for this consult is $60-$80.
Other medical expenses include:
|Medical Tests||Frequency||Average Cost|
|HIV||Every 2 years||$30|
|Tuberculosis (TB)||Every 2 years||$40|
|Dental Check-up (Optional)||Semi-annual to annual||$60|
Here’s the total of what you have to pay monthly:
|Working On Rest Days||$0||$61.54|
One-Off Lump Sum Costs
Apart from the monthly recurring costs, you have to take into account the expenses that regard hiring your maid/helper:
- Medical screening
- Employment agency cost
- Application charges
If you don’t have a transfer maid to count on, your best bet is to hire an agency to help you with all the details. This service ranges from $1,000 to $3,000, averaging $2,500 if it also includes insurance, transport, and application charges.
Medical screening costs when hiring your maid include:
- Pre-employment medical examination: $80
- Immunisation package for tetanus and pertussis: $93
One-off lump cost range: $1,173-$3,173
COVID-19 Related Costs For Hiring A Maid
COVID-19 expenses relate to:
- MOM entry approval (except for fully vaccinated MDWs)
- COVID-19 PCR test at an internationally accredited clinic or ART by a trained professional
- Stay-Home Notice period
- Extra medical insurance of at least $10,000 if your maid/helper develops COVID-19 symptoms or has a positive test within the two weeks after arriving in the country
- Serology test within the next 30 days
- You are legally required to pick up your maid/helper at the airport within one hour after they arrive, using only personal transport.
- Your maid/helper has to self-isolate and take a private swab test within 24 hours of arrival. You must send the results to this website and allow your MDW to start working if their test is negative.
COVID-related cost range: $1-$150
Placement Fee/Maid Loan
Your maid agency will have this placement fee, aka maid loan, in which you’ll have to pay for your maid/helper. Think of this as a sum that the agency requires so that your MDW can work in Singapore.
However, the agency can’t ask for any sum of money.
Philippines MDW, for instance, can only pay up to 50% of their earnings for loan repayment or a maximum of $1,100. This sum includes the MDW’s pre-employment package as well. However, an Indonesian maid’s placement fee is $1,500-$4,000.
Remember: You’ll get this sum back once the maid/helper starts repaying the loan using their salary.
Warning: Some maid agencies ask for illegal amounts amounting to over two months of your MDW’s earnings. Other agencies may try to cheat by asking both you and the maid separately to pay them twice the MDW’s monthly salary.
If that happens to you, make sure to report it. Otherwise, it’s always best to double-check with your maid or with your friends and family.
Total Cost Of Hiring A Maid/Helper In Singapore For 2 Years
If you add up the minimum monthly recurring costs of $1,165 to the one-off lump cost averaging $2,500, you can expect to fork out a minimum of $30,460 for the next two years, meaning $1,269.16/month.
Of course, that’s just the low-end estimate.
The COVID-19 lump sum costs bump this sum up by $100/month. Additionally, hiring an MDW from Indonesia translates into an extra $70/month (based on the initial maid placement fee).
Remember to factor in all these expenses – and more – in your budget before hiring your MDW. These sums are just the bare minimum; your family may end up paying twice or thrice as much, depending on your needs.
To help the tricky financial situations at home, Credit 21 has received many personal loan applications where borrowers needed money urgently for their families.
Besides, you’ll have to consider additional costs once the two-year period is over:
- Transport back to your maid/helper’s country of residence if you don’t want to continue working with them anymore
- $5,000 in security bonds for non-Malaysian MDWs. Of course, you will get this sum back when the work contract is over, but you still have to make the initial payment
Pro tip: If your MDW’s contract ends within six months of employing them, your agency will have to pay you back at least 50% of the service fees you’ve given them. This legal obligation comes into effect on June 1st 2022, and it’s only valid for the first three maid/helpers you’ve hired through that agency.
Are You Ready To Hire A Domestic Helper/Maid?
As you can see, hiring a maid/helper in Singapore makes quite a dent in your budget. Considering that your salary is $5,000, you’ll have to fork out at least 25%/month for your MDW’s expenses.
Of course, hiring an MDW may be essential.
Parents of small children or those caring for a disabled/elderly relative need all the help they can get. However, you need someone trustworthy who will give your loved ones the standard of care they need.
That’s where Credit 21 comes in.
Our wholly tailored and affordable personal loans will give you the financial assistance you need to pay at least for your MDW’s initial expenses. As your contract progresses, we’ll still be here with our convenient low-interest loans and friendly staff dedicated to helping you out.
Credit 21 will help you with customised packages, low installments, and prompt service throughout your tenure. With flexible repayment plans, you have nothing to worry about!